It’s a financial status that we all aspire to, but few ever reach. Those who enter the ultra-high-net-worth category not only achieve the American dream, but surpass it. Yet, understanding this particular client base takes a financial firm who can look far deeper than dollar figures listed on a net-worth statement. Indeed, since being founded in 1991, the team at Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth has served the ultra-high-net-worth client with an impressive breadth of services and the ability to simplify the complexities of wealth. Managing more than 550 client families with $21.3 billion of assets under management and $33.3 billion of trust assets under administration [as of December 31, 2011], Hawthorn’s senior vice president and managing director, Dick Barton, sat down with Profile to discuss some of the different business strategies that Hawthorn has utilized to not only grow, but flourish.
1. Recommit to Clients
The volatile economy has placed fear in the hearts of many, including the ultra-high-net-worth client. “It has caused everyone to reassess how they are invested, how much risk they are willing to accept, and how comfortable they are following their current road map,” Barton says. “We believe investing is a marathon, not a sprint. We seek to design strategies for the long haul, while making tactical decisions as circumstances change. In essence, the volatility of the economy has provided us with an opportunity to recommit to our clients in terms of where their road map is leading them and to reconfirm their strategies.”
2. Pool Resources
We believe the ability to “coach” clients through tough economic times has placed Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth ahead of its competition in many ways. As a member of one of the largest and most trusted financial institutions, The PNC Financial Services Group, we have over 150-year history of helping clients. Our experience, along with the collective knowledge of our 500-plus clients, contributes in creating a dynamic business relationship. “It’s truly a cooperative of ideas,” Barton explains. “We are utilizing the knowledge, the insight, and the experiences we have had with our client families to strengthen the solutions for current and prospective clients, whether that has to do with tax planning, fiduciary services, or investments. It’s our responsibility.”
3. Expand company footprint
PNC Bank is currently the nation’s fifth-largest bank based on more than 2,900 locations across 19 states and Washington, DC. Much of this growth can be attributed to the seven successful acquisitions in the past eight years, including the recent conversion of more than 400 RBC Bank (USA) branches across six southeastern states.
4. Provide Financial Solutions
Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth believes deeply in the value of objectivity. “We often say it is our job to find the best solution for our clients, whether that solution is under our roof or someone else’s. We believe this open-architecture investment strategy goes far in helping to eliminate potential conflicts, making us agnostic to where we find, for example, the best large-cap manager for our clients.”
5. Get in the Game
Being part of PNC Bank has undoubtedly served as a key driver to Hawthorn’s growth throughout the years. “PNC Bank has allowed us to meet and tell our story to countless ultra high-net worth families,” Barton adds. “I often explain it best by referring to the baseball analogy; we have to get our name in the lineup card so we get an at bat. They need to hear our story. We certainly can’t score from the bench.”